New Privacy Stuff

Has the GDPR – confusticated you yet?

Has the GDPR – confusticated you yet?

The GDPR – General Data Protection Regulation – comes into effect in the EU on the 25th May.

You might think the EU doesn’t affect you (if you’re not in the EU that is) but our readers are scattered all over the globe, and that’s just the ones we know about. Blogging really is a global activity. So yeah, is affects us all, or it will at some point in the future.

WordPress is updating their privacy policies ‘soon’ so we should see some notification about that ‘soon’-ish, if we’re using WordPress. I can only presume other blogging platforms are doing something similar.

This is the latest from WP … ‘New privacy features and updated policies.’ 

I highly recommend a good read of Nicholas Rossis’ post on the subject. He explains the nuts-n-bolts of the current state of affairs. Go, Nicholas!

With his permission I’ve included these two paragraphs that he’s using on his own blog, which I’m going to add to my ‘About Me’ page. They’ll stay there until WordPress comes through with the goods. (or not) Or I find any updated information around the interwebz. (which I’ll then post here)

‘Any cookies on my website are used to ensure normal website functions (for instance, Youtube videos won’t work without their own identifiers). These cookies cannot be switched off because the website wouldn’t work properly anymore. However, these identifiers do not store any personal data.’

… and …

‘When you leave a comment, WordPress stores your Gravatar name, IP address, comment, and email address. Therefore, leaving a comment is considered a clear affirmative, specific, and unambiguous action as defined by the GDPR, giving me consent to store this information, and permission to contact you in the future by email.

Your personal information will not be sold or shared with any third parties under any circumstances. Your information shall be retained until you unsubscribe or ask me to remove your data. If you do not consent to the above, please don’t leave a comment.

The truth of the matter is that for most of us it’ll be business as usual once the smoke clears.

It will be interesting however, to see what effect this will have on how non-EU countries and entities adapt their own policies and procedures.

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My Little Corner Of The Interwebz

With the return of the sun to the northern hemisphere an uptick in people following my blog has occurred.

Hello, and welcome to you all. **waves**

My sense of humour is occasionally much better than this, and occasionally much worse

My sense of humour is occasionally much better than this, and occasionally much worse

(not counting the obvious spam-a-lots, and dubious ‘follows’ that are just a weird collection of letters with outlook.com at the end. (anyone else getting a bunch of those lately?) C’mon spammers, you can do better than that … probably best not to give them any ideas though)

What I thought I’d do is provide a mini ‘glossary’ of things for newcomers who might be wondering what I’m talking about.

-oOo-

First of all – the ‘Widds’ Collection

Widdershins, Widder, Widds – That’s me. I answer to all three. When I started venturing out into the baby interwebz last century, ‘Widdershins’ was the username I picked for myself, and it stuck.

Mrs Widds – The delightful woman I’m married to. (yep, marriage has been legal for lesbians and gays here in Canada since 2004) We met online and I moved from Australia to Canada so we’d be together. (it wasn’t the snow, really, well it was partly the snow, but I’ll never admit that in polite society!)

Widder Island – I live in a small community on a little island in the Lower Mainland of British Columbia, Canada … which is in the middle of …

Widder Lake – I live on an island in the middle of a lake! How cool is this!

A couple of years before Mrs Widds and I moved here a young woman drowned in the lake and her friends put up this seat in her honour. Mrs Widds and I have sat there many an evening watching the sun set and sipping our beverages of choice

A couple of years before Mrs Widds and I moved here a young woman drowned in the lake and her friends put up this seat in her honour. Mrs Widds and I have sat there many an evening watching the sun set and sipping our beverages of choice

We used to have a cranky old cat, (Widder Cat) but she died a few years back and so we were adopted by …

Coco the Community Cat – Coco, who recently featured in my ‘David Attenborough stealth mode’ post actually lives across the way with her primary staff-person, but has acquired a collection of subsidiary residences along our end of our little road, whom she regularly visits for BBQ’s and cuddles and naps.

We don’t feed her, because, hey she’s got three other households who do, but we do provide the bestest cuddles and comfy safe places to nap, and the snipping of dreadies (bits of matted fur) that form in her gorgeous long, very long, fur. (which she kindly leaves over everything so we don’t forget about her when she’s not here)

Her little companion is Mirabeau – an occasional visitor to the camera frame

Her little companion is Mirabeau – an occasional visitor to the camera frame

And last, but by no means last …

The Winter Tree (also the Summer, Autumn, and Spring, Tree – depending on the time of year) – is a wonderful maple tree in our front yard who has featured in assorted seasonal posts wherein I grumble about the heat or squee about the snow.

Because of the late start to spring this year, (just about everywhere in the northern hemisphere) she’s only just pulled on her scarlet regalia, and there is a gap where the ice storm of last winter deprived her of two major branches, which gives her a rather ‘interesting’ look.

Room to grow into

Room to grow into

If there’s anything I’ve left out please let me know and I’ll endeavour to explain as we go along.

Prelude XIV

(My previous thirteen adventures into other Realms of Awareness can be read in sequence on their own page, ‘Prelude’ just up there on the header, or you can catch up with individual episodes over to the right in the ‘Topics’ section, under ‘Prelude’)

-oOo-

I’m not a patient person, (I learned, endurance, when I was stuck in hospital for five weeks – and one day but who’s counting – unable to walk and waiting to see if my leg would heal) but I’m an even-tempered person, for the most part, even if it’s not something that comes easily. My ‘line in the sand’ is quite broad but once the far boundary’s been crossed, I don’t take prisoners.

It had been a week since my last adventure and the tickle in my throat did indeed develop into nasty head-cold that knocked me out of action for the entire week, and although I was over the worst of it I wasn’t in any mood to take prisoners.

-oOo-

Almost before my Journey began, a formless, and as yet, directionless anger rose up from my gut and settled itself at the base of my skull. (probably because seven-tenths of me thought I ought to still be in bed with a hot water bottle, aspirin, and a bowl of restorative chicken-carrot-and-ginger-soup to keep me company)

A enormous marketplace came into being around me but although its teeming denizens thought they were free because it was so big, a great wall surrounded the entire space at the horizon’s edge.

I made my way slowly through the maze of stalls selling all manner of things. Spices, dried pulses, cloth, jewelry, wickedly sharp weapons, household goods, and many, many other objects whose usage was beyond my mortal abilities to comprehend. Those who catered to a more unsavoury clientele hawked their wares beneath low hung canopies, patched and frayed at the edges, all the while casting furtive looks into the crowd. Soothsayers, of the genuine and charlatan variety, flung their saying of sooths at anyone foolish enough to make eye-contact. Food vendors wandered the narrow alleys and wide boulevards selling freshly cooked seafoods and meats, pies, and veggie kebabs.

I ran the finest of fabrics through my fingers, reveling in the sheer sensuousness. I smelled the aromas wafting at me from all directions. I tasted meats and fruits of unknown origins and species, knowing full-well I could indulge my tastebuds as I had left my Anglo-Saxon digestive system far behind me.

Dust from ten thousand feet plumed around me on its way up into the violet-tinged sky.

I enjoyed myself to the hilt, but my convalescent state had left me vulnerable to this cornucopia of excess. Eventually the cacophonous avalanche of bleats, clangs, bangs, screeches, and people shouting at each other, drove me from the main concourse and I ducked down a side alley where the noise, if not the dust, became bearable.

I stood in a small cobbled courtyard, bound on three sides by cascades of hanging plants festooned with tiny droplets of water from a cleverly hidden misting device. I relaxed my shoulders and breathed deeply of the softer air.

In the center of the courtyard stood two high-backed ebony chairs side-by-side, each with a small white porcelain urn on its seat.

Without warning, the urns exploded. Shards flew everywhere, a few punching through my clothes and drawing blood. The chairs shattered into bits of kindling that caught fire and were reduced to ashes in a few moments. For some reason this infuriated me more than my tiny wounds.

“What a fucking waste!” I shouted. “What’s the point?” I shook with rage and turned to go back to the bazaar. At least there the dust and noise made sense.

A sheet of metal with a huge hole punched through it blocked my way. Whatever had blown up the urns had escaped through the hole. Incensed at still more destruction I made up my mind to pursue it.

 As I clambered through the hole I cut myself quite deeply on one of the jagged and rusty edges. I swore at my clumsiness, which didn’t help matters much either.

Back out in the market, one of the food vendors exclaimed at the tear in my shirtsleeve and the blooming bloodstain. Because I couldn’t be bothered with explanations, I just flexed my will, healed the wound and erased the stain.

The vendor fell silent and backed up into the crowded thoroughfare. The silence spread from person to person, stall to stall, like some sort of pestilence. It soon encompassed the whole place, right out to the far distant walls.

The moment of silence stretched out like a giant rubber band, pulled to its limit.

Suddenly everyone started talking and gesticulating louder than ever and the noise crashed back over me like a tidal wave, although quickly returning to its normal level, to my relief. I couldn’t’ve withstood such an assault for much longer.

My rage and confusion engaged in a neck-and-neck race to the finish line. What the hell was going on?

Another scene flickered into being around me, then flickered out just as quickly. And another and another, so fast that I couldn’t make any sense of them.

I wondered if this was just an after/side-effect of being sick. (this was the first time I’d been unwell since I began my adventures) If it was, my impressed-ness was underwhelming.

I shifted my attention away from the texture of my Journey to create a ‘pause’ in the proceedings, and contemplated ending my Journey.

This work was tough enough when I was healthy, and it was clear to me, finally, that I wasn’t in any shape to continue. My physical body had the shakes, which probably meant I ought to be in bed with a hot water bottle, aspirin, and a bowl of restorative chicken-carrot-and-ginger-soup to keep me company. It would’ve been the first time I’d returned from a Journey before its end and a part of me felt like I was letting myself down, like I was cheating.

Well, I think that must’ve been the last straw for whatever or whoever was orchestrating my current misadventures, because my shivers suddenly increased beyond what was physically possible.

My attention snapped back to my Journey.

The flagged stones underneath the entire marketplace buckled and heaved. Cracks opened up in the ground and the heavens split apart. Blasts of white-hot steam burned everyone and everything they touched. Screams filled the air and felt as though they were tearing me apart.

The shaking continued as my insides liquefied.

“Alright!” I snapped. My anger rose beyond my desire to control it. “If that’s what you want, lets take it all the way!”

I focused my rage, my horror of what was happening in the bazaar, on my internal shaking, on the breakdown of my body, and I … pushed.

I pushed the rage deeper and deeper until it reached my cells, until the structure of the cells broke down into their atomic composition. I used my anger like a scourge and goaded the breakdown further, down to the quantum level where matter ceased to exist and only energy reigned.

I wasn’t done yet.

I spun the quantum field anti-clockwise, (the original widdershins) and whipped it up with my anger to create a shift of energy that I could control, could work with.

Soon the field was spinning so fast it didn’t need me to sustain it so I moved myself to the center where everything was still and reined in my anger. It had served its function.

Something foreign, alien, began to stir within the field. The centrifugal force had shaken it loose from where it had lain undiscovered for who knew how long. It expanded like a mushroom cloud and grew until it broke out of the quantum field. It coalesced first into its atomic structure, then into physical matter, and finally scurried to hide within the cells of my body.

I continued the outward pressure until it oozed through my pores like some hideous doughy fungus. It began to harden until the suffocatingly obscene substance completely encased me.

But, just like everything else on this Journey, this attempt at suffocation triggered my anger and wrenched it out of my control until it was an entity separate from myself.

I flexed my will to crack open the disgusting thing encasing me and escape. It gave way for a moment then reformed even more solid than before.

My anger exploded with enough force to erase the cosmos, (or so it felt at the time) and I found myself standing on the outside of the pillar of gray-black solidified oozy substance. Relief that the uncontrollably destructive force of my anger had been contained left me feeling light-headed.

I turned away and almost stumbled over the staff I received as a gift last week.

I warily nudged it with my toe. If I took it up I’d have to use it, but given my state of mind, along with feeling weak as a baby kitten from the head-cold aftereffects, I feared what would happen if I unleashed the power of the staff on something that had already proven itself to be, perhaps, equally powerful.

“Pick it up.” An imperious voice commanded.

I shook my head and whispered, “No.”

“Pick. It. Up!”

“No. I won’t. It’s not safe.” I wasn’t sure whether I was talking about the staff or myself.

“You only get three chances. Pick it up.”

I knew the alternative to picking up the staff, to basically reject the ‘three chances’ rule, was probably akin to a fate worse than the other side of death. I’d experienced a whole bunch of fates this side of death and I had no desire to go through to the ones on the other side.

(My first few adventures were mostly about establishing what worked for me in these other Realms of Awareness, and what didn’t. These ‘rules’ are different for everyone. The tricky bit is what you have to go through to figure ‘em out!)

Still, I thought it was profoundly unfair to take advantage of my weakened barely-convalescent state. (let’s keep the fact that I chose to drag myself out of bed and do this Journey, just between us, shall we?)

Fine!”

I flicked the staff up with my foot and caught it in both hands. I swung it over my head and struck the solidified oozy pillar, once.

It was a colossal blow even if I do say so myself. The concussion alone threw me out into the now deserted marketplace where I landed flat on my back with an almighty thump.

The staff was nowhere to be seen, I didn’t know it it’d been destroyed, but the pillar certainly had. I rolled over and painfully clawed my way to my feet, aware that some elemental force had been liberated. Whether for good or ill, remained to be seen.

-oOo-

My immediate family of origin was broken long before it completely imploded when I was twelve.

Each of us acted out that brokenness in our own unique ways, but all of them were self-destructive and, as is the way of self-destructiveness, another sort of destruction rained down on all others within the blast range.

My parents dealt with their anguish in ways I, as a child, couldn’t understand. (although I gained some insight as an adult, as you do)

I chose to emotionally shut down and silence myself so as not to be visible. Only coming alive when I was alone in the wild bushland.

I had/have a younger brother. (I say ‘had/have’, because I haven’t had any contact with any of my family of origin since the late 80’s) His defense mechanism was to be highly visible, loud and belligerently visible, and take up as much space as possible.

One day he and I got into a verbal fight. Well, he fought and I retreated, hurt, and angry that he was picking on me simply because I was the nearest target. (me, pointing that out didn’t help matters much. Funny that)

We were standing at opposite ends of the dilapidated remains of a small barn that my father had begun but never finished. (he was good at never finishing things) There were raw logs, old ropes, rusty hand tools, rotten planks in frowzy chaotic piles everywhere. (a kid’s paradise, if you weren’t in the midst of a shouting match with your sibling)

My brother wouldn’t stop pushing at me, (I doubt he knew how to) and the more he pushed the angrier I got. In my child-ish way, I knew this was not a good thing. (my mother was half Irish and I’d inherited every measure of her temper) I told him I was getting angry and if he didn’t stop there’d be real trouble. (we were both kids, remember, so ultimatums were our default response) My brother, on the other hand, didn’t have a clue, and me imparting another bit of information only inspired him to new heights.

We were almost screaming at each other when my anger shattered my conscious thoughts. I picked up a rusty hatchet (a small axe) and threw it at him.

It thudded into a wooden post about two centimeters (an inch) from his left ear.

We both froze.

His face went from crimson to bleached terror.

He bolted in one direction and I took off in the other. (by unspoken agreement we never mentioned the hatchet incident again, and certainly never told our parents)

I have no memory of picking up that hatchet and throwing it. I could’ve killed him. I knew that if I went into that enraged place ever again, the risk would be just as great, so I didn’t let my anger, my ‘temper’, off its leash, until this particular Journey.

-oOo-

One more Khatia for the road.

At the 48 minute mark you get to see her perform a couple of four-handed pieces with her sister, who’s no slouch when it comes to tickling the ivorys herself!

A fitting ending I think, to my Khatia mini-music-festival.

Bon Voyage, Margot Kidder

Hey Margot, say hello to Christopher for us …

From the Toronto Sun files

She was the best movie Lois Lane, ever. No-one since has come close to how well she embodied the essence of that full-on, flat-out Lois Lane energy. 

You will be missed.

Down The Volcanic Rabbit Hole

Some interesting thoughts I’ve been having on a lovely sunny Widder Island day …

I’ve had a lifelong attraction with all things geologic since I first figured out how my favourite swimming hole formed in the middle of a sandstone rock formation when I was about … hmm … well, certainly before my teens.

A week ago-ish Hawaii came up on my ‘radar’ when Pele told Kilauea to get out of bed and clean her room. She threw her clothes out the door and they landed in a neighbour’s backyard in and around Leilani Estates. (which is a highly stylised version of events that are still taking place today with the opening up of yet another fissure, the 16th, this one with its very own lava flow – Saturday 12th May)

Something about the eruption caught my attention and so I started digging, via the video behemoth that is YouTube and after following many trails that led to cute kittens, calving icebergs, and how to make fairy log homes out of ‘paper clay’ I ended up at the ‘Great Crack’ on the south-eastern coastline of the island of Hawai’i. If you do a google maps search for ‘Great Crack Hawaii’ you’ll see that it’s a whole lot longer that the eight miles as noted in the Wikipedia entry. It basically runs from just west of the Kilauea crater to the sea.

We think the ground is solid under our feet, but it isn’t.

I also found this channel, Dutchsinse. Dutch has a live feed of a map of the world that registers all the earthquakes, large small and otherwise, that occur all over the world. Once or twice a day he analyses what’s happening and what he thinks might happen, (so far I haven’t found any cracks in his reasoning) (didn’t see that pun until I was about to post, so I thought I’d leave it there) which he posts separate to the live feed. He doesn’t go all doom-and-gloom-y, but he does say, ‘pay attention, folks this IS happening’.

This is the live feed …

(whenever you hear a rumbling sound, that’s an earthquake and the number of clangs immediately afterward indicates the magnitude)

 … and if you go to his channel you’ll see his latest analysis. I’ll just put up the one is from last night…

 

 

 

 

 

Prelude XIII

(My previous twelve adventures into other Realms of Awareness can be read in sequence on their own page, ‘Prelude’ just up there on the header, or you can catch up with individual episodes over to the right in the ‘Topics’ section, under ‘Prelude’)

-oOo-

I had an irritation in the back of my throat that just wouldn’t go away. It wasn’t your ordinary garden variety tickle either, and it would, I knew, morph into a full-blown head-cold within the next twenty-four hours.

I was so distracted that I missed most of the imagery from my Grounding and only managed to tune back in when I saw a spear, wreathed in fire.

A shaft of fire flowed up from the tip of the spear, so high I couldn’t see where it ended. It grew wider until it looked like a road, a golden path to who-knew where.

Well, what was I to do but walk upon it? I cleared my throat as surreptitiously as I could, (hoping it would clear whatever was torturing my throat. It didn’t) and set off.

The path led through a lush green forest until it passed between two jade trees. The highly polished facets of the jade reflected the light from the golden path into the rest of the forest, casting greenish-golden rainbows everywhere I looked.

The irritation in my throat increased. I broke out into a cold sweat that made my eyes water. I swallow hard, and coughed.

(Sometimes, the physical intervenes. An itch that needed scratching, an aching joint, a numb bum from sitting, a tickle up my nose from an errant bit of pollen, or toast crumb that didn’t go all the way down … I’m not one for the remain-still no-matter-what-and-ignore-your-body’s-needs, school of thought, when doing this work. That smacks too much of the rigidity that some spiritual, and religious, practices demand of their adherents; the my-way-or-the-highway version of Walking the Path … if you gotta scratch an itch, then you gotta scratch an itch, and the truth is, it won’t negate your experience. It might be altered, but who’s to say that wasn’t what was supposed to happen anyway)

I stopped between the two trees and glanced up. Wedged between them was a giant tarnished silvery sphere. I leaned back to get a better look when it fell down onto my chest. I held my arms out to grab it but it got bigger and bigger until it rolled off of me and smacked onto the golden pathway with a crack that echoed throughout the forest.

It increased in size until it grew far beyond my awareness, beyond any possible conception of its size. Its surface wasn’t smooth anymore but criss-crossed with ravines and bottomless crevasses, as though it had been eroded by wind and rain for millennia.

I looked around, trying to find a way in, when a voice said, “The way to get from the outside to the inside, is to focus.”

I refrained from rolling my eyes, barely, and sniffed, idly wondering if I’d get through this entire adventure without having to blow my nose.

I ‘focused’ on a single chasm and walked through it until I found myself inside the sphere, surrounded by utter desolation. No trees, no plants, or animals, no life. Mounds of slag, with oozing oil pits in their hollows, stretched as far as I could see. Thunderous clouds hung low and roiled with sickening lurches. The over-ripe smell of decay percolated through the fetid air.

I slowly walked away from the scant protection afforded by the chasm’s reflection in this Realm and saw off to one side, a cliff rising out of the land, with a jagged cleft scored into it, shrouded in deep shadows. Out from the shadow drifted a huge cocoon, somewhat metallic in surface texture. It split open, and as the two halves fell apart, a scorpion, about the size of a percheron rolled clear and landed in front of me.

It shook for a moment then extended its legs and pushed the claw at the end of each one into the blighted earth as though to anchor it for … I had no idea what for, but I wasn’t going to stick around to find out.

Before I could move, or even flex my will to shift Realms, the scorpion shuddered, from its nasty pincers at the front end to coiled stinger at the other.

Like the cocoon it then split down its middle into two halves. Viscera and other ‘ewww’-worthy gloop flopped out of its body cavity and revealed a vaguely humanoid body entwined in the remaining icky bits.

The body breathed the gulping breaths of birth. It lived, but no-one was home.

It was at this point I realised two things. One, my current physical body was about to disappear on me, and two, that was my new one.

I slowly approached the pile of gloop, grasped the body by one gloop-covered arm, and pulled it free of the, really disgusting, sticky, (now that it had dried out a little) gloop.

To my great credit I neither vomited nor wiped my hands on my shirt, but only because I wasn’t ‘embodied’ anymore. No vomit, no hands, no shirt.

I looked down at the creature, closed my eyes, (or at least my awareness of them) and drifted down into it.

I’d done some pretty weird stuff in my adventures so far but this took the cake.

I opened my eyes and everything around me looked as though it was tinted in shades of yellowish-green, then I realised it was my eyes that had changed. My field of vision had wavy edges to it. The iris of my eyes were reptilian rather than mammalian. My face was elongated, jaws extended forward. I also had a tail. I knew I had a tail because I’d been laying on it and, being a continuation of my spine, it didn’t appreciate the extra weight. I rolled over onto all fours and pushed myself onto my wide three-toed-and-clawed feet.

I flexed all my new muscles. I had powerful legs, built for running. Strong arms, also ending in a set of rather impressive claws. As I twisted this way and that, admiring my new form I saw a faint pattern of scales on my shiny new skin. (dragon-sized scales rather than fish-sized, I thought)

I was here in this strange land, to receive two gifts.

I wondered if this body was one of the gifts, (which would’ve been beyond cool) and received a negative answer. This body was a vehicle in which to move through this land, to find the gifts. I asked if my new vision, (that I’d decided was dragon-ish rather than lizard-ish) was one of the gifts, but no, it too was simply the means to an end.

I rolled my shoulders, (half-hoping a set of wings might pop into existence) and set off in the direction that pulled at me. As I got comfortable with how my new body worked, I walked faster, then jogged along.

My body warmed to the task and I started running. The dusky land flowed beneath my feet. I ran faster. The land became a blur as I ran at an unimaginable speed toward the still distant horizon. Past sound, past time, past an awareness of any reality except this ever increasing movement, this unbelievable speed across the land.

A thought popped in and out of my mind in an instant. I wondered what might happen if I kept on running faster and faster for all eternity. Would I catch up with the Big Bang? Would I eventually go so fast that I’d catch up with myself?

It was probably just as well that soon I outran my ability to create thoughts.

A flash of blue sky, high up in the sky, broke through my endless acceleration. In an instant I ceased running and stood in the absolute stillness and silence that surrounded me.

A cold shiver made the edges of the scales on my arms curl upward. I was standing in the middle of a snowfield. The silence was so profoundly deep I could feel it settling into the earth.

My new body quickly adapted and my three-toed feet sank into the snow as I moved forward. Walking this time, leisurely, toward a woodland that looked like a picture postcard. Snow bent the boughs of the ancient trees almost to the ground and between a pair of them I spotted a set of animal tracks. I wasn’t alone here.

I came upon a reindeer. Her magnificent antlers glowed in the soft light that emanated from the trees. She was busy using her antlers to move the snow cover aside to reveal the sweet grasses underneath, but when she saw me she lifted her head and snuffled the air, her breath coming out in white puffs of stream.

I stood stock still, hoping my strange body wouldn’t spook her, but it seemed like she thought of me/it as an old friend because she came over and gently head-butted me, obviously schmoozing for a skritch.

‘Dragon’ claws make for good skritches. Every time I stopped she nudged my hand to another spot and away we went again.

Finally, my new-and-improved muscles got tired and she lowered her head so that the tips of her antlers were at eye level. Suspended between the two outermost prongs was the silver sphere, albeit significantly smaller than I’d last seen it. It fell forward and I grabbed it in my right hand before it hit the snow.

A sphere in exchange for skritches seemed like a fair bargain to me. Mdme Reindeer thought so too, because she ambled off between the snow covered trees, probably in search of more skritches.

At first I thought I was imagining the cold getting more intense, but as I walked back out of the forest my feet didn’t sink into the snow anymore. It had frozen solid, like ice. I walked, carefully, on top of it until the air around me started to freeze as well. It cracked into shards as I walked through it then refroze behind me. I took a few more steps but that was it. I was frozen in place.

A subterranean rumble rose up near me from deep within the ground. With a sound like a million wind-chimes let loose on a windy day, the frozen air shattered.

The ground shook again and a crack opened up beside me. Something rose up through the earth, through the snow, and passed through my open left hand. My eyes started to water and I blinked them hard. The strange irises contracted and I saw what was in my hand. A staff of fiery red energy, wreathed in runes and a repeating pattern of what looked suspiciously like stylised antlers. As I watched it cooled to a silver colour that matched the sphere in my left hand.

-oOo-

Once I was sure I was back in my body, in the room, I opened my eyes, but the body I’d re-entered didn’t quite feel like my own. I surreptitiously did a quick check for tail, scales and three-toed feet. Everything looked like it was supposed to.

Some weeks later a friend of mine returned from overseas with a gift for me.

After comparing notes we realised she’d bought this gorgeous pewter statuette (she’s only 6cm tall) the same time as I’d been doing this Journey.

-oOo-

A little Schumann and Buniatishvili?

 

The Peanut Has Landed

Last time I saw a picture of her she was just an ultrasound.

Now she’s a fully formed human being.

P.S. – just to clarify, she’s our great granddaughter, but her great-great grandma is still alive

Welcome to the world, great-great-granddaughter!

Welcome to the world, great-great-granddaughter!

A whole lot of people are grinning, just like this!

A whole lot of people are grinning, just like this!